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What's a Rakeback Pro?

A rakeback pro is a high-volume, low return daily grinder. Rakeback pros are largely concerned with putting in a lot of hours and playing a lot of hands. They generally make little to nothing in the actual game and derive the majority of their income from rakeback.

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How Can I Become a Rakeback Pro?

The first step is to sign up for poker rooms offering rakeback. Since you're going to put in lots of hands, it’s a good idea to open accounts at multiple rooms to take advantage of bonuses and promotions.

How Much Do I Need to Play?

Check out the tables below to determine how many hours per month you need to play to be a rakeback pro. The first is based on our #1 PokerStars alternative (given their Nov 2015 cuts in rewards), Americas Cardroom. They give all players who sign up via an affiliate (e.g. the links on this page) 27% rakeback on demand.

The second is based on our #2 pick, Winner Poker. We've assumed 50% rakeback rather than the advertised 70%, given that rakeback pros will experience some deductions under the new ipoker rakeback system

Both are based on the folowing assumptions:

  • Playing 6-max NLHE only
  • An average of 90 hands per hour per table
  • Earning $2500 per month
  • 100% of income coming from rakeback (thus breaking even in the actual game)

Americas Cardroom - Hours to Earn $2500/mo Rakeback

Americas Cardroom Hours Needed Per Month
2 Tables 4 Tables 8 Tables
10NL 4832 2416 1208
25NL 2076 1038 519
50NL 1143 572 286
100NL 673 337 168
200NL 450 225 113
400NL 341 171 85
600NL 290 145 73
1000NL 259 130 65

Winner Poker - Hours to Earn $2500/mo Rakeback

Winner Poker Hours Needed Per Month
2 Tables 4 Tables 8 Tables
10NL 2382 1191 595
25NL 1248 624 312
50NL 680 340 170
100NL 383 191 96
200NL 266 133 67
400NL 187 93 47
600NL 149 74 37
1000NL 136 68 34

Winner Poker Rakeback
www.winner.com

Free download securely from official Winner Poker server

Example Calculation

  • Player A is a 400NL (€2/€4) grinder on Winner Poker. Looking at the Rakeback.com rake tables, he rakes around ~€13.9 per 100 hands, so ~€12.5/hr given our assumption of playing ~90 hands/hr.
  • Player A plays 4 tables at a time, for a net rake of ~€50/hr
  • He earns ~50% rakeback so ~€25/hr
  • At the time of writing €25 = $26.8
  • To earn $2500/month in rakeback he must grind 93 hours, as shown in the table

Conclusions

As the tables show, the higher stakes and more tables you play, the less you'll need to play to achieve an equal monthly income.  In fact, at the lower stakes and at a low number of tables it is not even feasible to be a rakeback pro because the hours necessary to play are simply too high.  

This is also a sample of only 2 poker rooms.  Depending on your site and the rakeback deal you get you may need to play more or less than indicated in these charts.  

Note that rakeback is largely going to be determined by hands played.  To determine hours needed we used an average of 90 hands per hour per table.  Depending on your site, this may be more or less for you, so keep that in mind when planning a playing schedule.  

Also remember that the charts are based on earning $2500 per month.  Players wanting to earn more than $2500 per month can increase their income in a variety of ways including:

Where Should I Play?

There are countless poker rooms to choose from, but not all are conducive to being a rakeback pro.  The 3 following rooms are our top picks for rakeback pros based on their high traffic and good rakeback deals.  Keep in mind that many rakeback pros play at multiple sites.  

  1. Americas CardroomAmericas Cardroom:  As the number 1 US-facing room and a 27% rakeback deal, Americas Cardroom comes in second overall and is the best option for US players.
  2. winner PokerWinner Poker:  This iPoker site is a solid deal with high rakeback and some of the highest non-PokerStars traffic numbers.
  3. NordicbetNordicbet Poker:  This Microgaming skin has 30% rakeback and loose games.

Lifestyle of a Rakeback Pro

Many people are thrilled at the prospect of getting to play poker for a living by being a rakeback pro.  Poker is very flexible and offers a lot of freedom to those who can consistently make enough after rakeback.

It is important, however, to realize that it will not always be fun and games.  After the initial thrill wears off, poker can become quite a grind, particularly as a rakeback pro.  There will be times you need to play but don't want to.  It can be easy to get burned out, especially if you need to play very high volume.

There is also no regular paycheck.  You'll need to put in the necessary volume or you won't get paid, period.  Its not glamorous and despite not having a normal job, you will absolutely have to work hard not only to get in the requried volume, but also to maintain your winrate.  This is true even if your winrate is 0.  

Poker can be a great way to make a living or supplement your income, but its not for everybody, thus its important to keep in mind the caveats above before deciding to jump in.  If you're ready to give it a shot, see the next section for some practical tips on being a rakeback pro.

Tips for Rakeback Pros

  • Maintain a balanced life.  Being social and having non-poker activities/hobbies in your life is extrememly important when playing poker for a living.  These things give you the necessary mental breaks from the game so you can recharge and avoid burnout.  Just sitting inside all day rakeback grinding is a miserable existence.  Bonus points if these activities include exercise or get you moving.  
  • Have a plan and a schedule.  Figure out how much you want to make and determine how much volume you'll need to play at what stakes and with how many tables to get there.  Chunk it up into smaller pieces to see how much you'll need to play per month, per week, and per day.  This makes things easier to manage and increses your chances of achieving your necessary volume.  
  • Practice multi-tabling by building gradually. Think of it like exercise: start playing two tables at the same time, and once you’re a comfortable with two tables, add a third. Repeat this process until you can play 10 or more table without breaking a sweat.
  • Use multiple monitors. Top rakeback pros have two or three monitors hooked-up to the same computer. The more screen space you have, the more tables you can play.
  • Use poker tracking software. Software programs such as Poker Tracker and Hold’em Manager can help by analyzing your play and providing heads up displays (HUDs) which aid in decision making.
  • Focus mentally. Keep the distractions to a minimum. Close instant messenger, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and concentrate solely on poker.
  • Continually learn about poker. Subscribing to poker training sites and reading strategy forums are great places to start. Many poker rooms and training sites also offer videos to help improve your game. You may also want to visit poker forums to see what people are thinking about when they play poker.

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